Need a spice fix? You’ve come to the right place.
Wait a moment: I’ve just shoved a strangely named spice paste in your face on a weekday morning (or night, depending on where and when you’re reading this) and… you’ll still here.
You want to know more…
I like people like you, you spice-fanatic, nude-food-hero you. You’re awesome ???
So… Ras el what?
Ras el Hanout, “Best of the Shop”, is a spice blend originating from Morocco. Apparently – I’m leaning on various website sources here and am yet to travel to Morocco – spice stores compete against once another to see who can have the best spice mix, their “best of the shop” blend. As you can imagine, with any competition, rivalry is abound and it is said there are some Ras el Hanout blends with more than 50 different spices in there (***WOW***). Don’t worry, we’re not going that crazy.
Or are we? Mwah ha ha! ?
I get that, it’s a spice paste. Any spice paste made from scratch seems intimidating at first but guys, seriously, it is so worth it. Oh, and don’t be put off by the colour. I know sludge-brown iusn’t the most appetising of colours but… wait for the aroma and that flavour!
Wait for all the spices to explode about your tastebuds, sending you on the next express service to foodie heaven – all aboard!?
You should be, you’re about to make you’re own Ras El Hanout… from scratch. Perhaps you’ve had Moroccan cuisine before and love that complex blend of savoury and sweet all mingering together in mouthwatering greatness; or perhaps you just want to try something new and this just felt like it was meant to be.
So, of course you’re excited. Making things from scratch is exciting especially when they are as exotic as this.
Is it worth it?
Per-leeez! Of course it’s frickin’ worth it. Do you thunk I would put something on here if it was just mediocre?
Ras el Hanout is a flavour champion, it has so much going on at once you won’t known what to do with yourself.
Plus you can use it in so many ways. If you’ve cooked with spice pastes before you’ll know how versatile they are and Ras el Hanout is no exception. It can be made into stews and curries or added to soups; you can rub it on to meat, add it to marinades you name it. It can be used with almost everything.
So many ingredients
Yes, there are a lot of ingredients and that may just be enough to put you off, I mean, that seems like an awful lot of money for some brown sludge, right? Plus supermarkets sell Ras el Hanout blends, you could just get that instead…
No, No, No NOOOOOO! Stop it! ?
I am now virtual-slapping ? the stupid out of you and beating away that negative attitude.
Yes there are a lot of ingredients but, just think about it. Your very own Ras el Hanout, from scratch. Did I mention this recipe makes about 2 cups of the stuff? And, kept in a jar in the fridge, will keep for up to a year, if not more. You are about to make one hell of a spice paste AND have enough of it to amaze people time and time again. So stop your whinging about the amount of ingridients, ok?
Alright, back to nice me, I can’t stay mad at you wonderful people for too long. So here’s a hint for getting all those ingredients:
Find yourself a small Asian or Middle Eastern grocery store. These shops are little gold mines, filled from floor to ceiling with wonderful things, most of which you’ve probably never heard of before. My local Indian/ Pakistani grocery has an entire aisle dedicated to lentils and then another to spices; I’m like a child at a candy store when I go. ?
Buy spices from these small independent and you’ll be saving some pennies; yesterday I [icked up 1/2kg of coriander seeds for the same price as one of this little supermarket spice jars. If you’re savvy about the way you buy you spices you’ll be able to make this paste with a reasonably small budget and you shouldn’t have to trek from one shop to another, they’re all pretty standard.
Can’t get some of the ingredients? Don’t worry about that. There is no exact science to this, nor do you have to follow the recipe to the letter. Remember, in Morocco, Ras el hanout is different from one spice store to another; each spice merchant has their own recipe and style. Even have a little fun trying a few other additions such as sumac, fenugreek seeds, saffron, or even some dried herbs?
So, ready to make some Ras el Hanout? Don’t forget to let me know how you went in the comments below!
Ras El Hanout Spice Paste
Prep Time: 15 mins || Cook Time: 5 mins
- 6 Tbsp Coriander seeds
- 4 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
- 3 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp Caraway seeds
- 1 1/2 8cm long cinnamon sticks
- 10 cardamon pods (any colour, split the shells and use the seeds inside)
- 3 tsp Peppercorns (any colour)
- 2 tsp Ground Mace
- 2 tsp Ground All Spice
- 12 Cloves
- 2 Star Anise
- 2 tsp Yellow mustard seeds
- 2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 80g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 80g fresh Turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 whole nutmeg, grated
- 1 long red chilli
- 3/4 – 1 cup Olive oil
- Place a small fry pan over low heat. Add all the ingredients up to black mustard seeds and cook for about five minutes or until they are fragrant and begin to pop and crackle. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In food processor or blender, blitz together the garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli, nutmeg with a little of the oil to form a thick paste. You may need to scrape down the side and add more oil.
- Add the cooked spices to the garlic mixture with the rest of the oil. Blend into a paste adding more oil should you want a thinner consistency.
- Store in an airtight container, in the fridge. Will keep for several months.